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2023 Presidency: Eschew Disunity, Electoral Violence, Yoruba Global Council Tells S-West Aspirants

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The Yoruba Global Council (YGC), a foremost and prestigious Yoruba Diaspora – based socio-cultural organization, has called on south west aspirants in the forthcoming general elections to eschew disunity and electoral violence.

The body was established to advance the course and interest of the Yoruba nation through the promotion of unity, mutual trust, trade liberalization, co-existence and interactions with other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and the Diaspora. YGC is also committed to deepening democracy by fostering the ethos, values and healthy practices of representative government in the South West and Nigeria in general.

In release made available to Freelanews and co-signed Prof. Lere Amusan and Prince Segun Akanni, who are the spokesman and general secretary of the body respectively, YGC sought to send strong admonishment to all presidential aspirants of the Yoruba extraction, especially those in the ruing All Progressives Congress (APC).

“We admonish them to shy away from divisive or politics of acerbity and eschew electoral violence as the country prepares for the 2022 primaries and 2023 general polls.  To put issues in proper perspectives, YGC warns all Yoruba presidential aspirants, particularly those in APC such as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the incumbent Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and Pastor Tunde Bakare to be circumspect in the way and manner they go about their political ambition. 

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“They need to, at this momentous time of our history,  resist the game plan of the fifth columnists and foes of the Yoruba nation who are bent on taking the presidency away from the Yoruba come 2023. YGC believes that 2023 presents another golden opportunity for the Yoruba to produce the next President for the Federal Republic of Nigeria and divisive politicking or politics of ego and self-centeredness among those jostling for the number one seat must not be allowed to jeopardize such prospect,” the statement read.

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YGC reminded the aspirants how Yoruba lost Ilorin territory to Fulani and also how widely acclaimed winner of June 12 presidential election, late Chief MKO Abiola, was backstabbed due to politics of self-centerness practised by frontline Yoruba leaders in the past.

“History is replete with circumstances in which the Yoruba lost their coveted territory of Ilorin to the Fulani owing to over-ambition and egoistic attitude demonstrated by Atiba. It would be succinctly recalled that it was the over ambition of Atiba to become the Alaafin, at the expense of his brother, Alaafin Oluewu,  that led to the painful loss of Ilorin to the Fulani today. Another trait of disunity played out during the June 12 struggle in which prominent Yoruba sons and leaders left Chief MKO Abiola in the lurch, thereby making the race lose the most exalted seat in the land. Must the Yoruba presidential aspirants and committed stakeholders to the Yoruba course and interest allow history repeat itself by allowing charlatans and political contractors infiltrate their camps and lead them to perdition?  YGC says categorical NO to the ploy and Machiavellian scheme of the adversaries of the Yoruba nation this time around!

“In view of the aforesaid, YGC enjoins all Yoruba presidential aspirants, especially the APC Heavyweights, to  sheath their swords, come together, play ball and find a common ground through which a credible, reliable, responsible and capable Yoruba son will be fielded to represent our collective interest and aspirations as well as those of the larger federation –  Nigeria. YGC is not in any way averse to the idea of one federated Nigeria but on the proviso that such a federation is built upon egalitarianism, justice, equity, inclusiveness and sense of belonging for all and sundry.

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“Besides, it has been, over the years, observed that every election cycle poses potent threat to the sustainability of our nascent democracy and the democratization process. Since 1999, developments leading to each election year had been and have continued to be characterized by political assassination, brigandage, hate speech, gruesome abduction, grandstanding, implosion occasioned by lack of internal democracy (especially after party primaries) and anti-party activities among other encumbrances,” the statement continued.

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The group noted that all of these unnecessarily heat up the polity and create palpable fear in the minds of the electorate – a development that compels them (voters) to abdicate their franchise on Election Day. It, therefore, unequivocally decries these dangerous preludes to Nigerian elections and canvases for a quick change of the obnoxious narratives.     

“Based on the foregoing and in line with our mandate and unassailable commitment to advancing the collective interest of the Yorba race both at home and in Diaspora and in fostering peaceful co-existence, we reiterate our warning by calling on all illustrious sons and daughters of the Yoruba nation – seeking the presidency, to embrace unity and a sense of political camaraderie by according Yoruba interest premium priority ahead of personal ambition.” 

YGC also appealed to all political aspirants, party leaders and critical stakeholders to play prominent role in the advocacy for peaceful, free and fair elections at both primary and general levels ahead of the 2023 general polls.

“Democracy can only thrive when all stakeholders eschew all forms of electoral violence, but seek to embrace peace in all its ramifications before, during and after the 2023 general elections. Elections will come and go but the indivisibility of the nation and its people unity must remain intact. It is to this end that we crave the indulgence of all players and gladiators in the electoral arena to support our advocacy for peace by contributing to the creation of secure and peaceful atmosphere that guarantees the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections, especially in Yorubaland and indeed, Nigeria come 2023.

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“We are utterly aware of the qualities possessed by each of the Yoruba presidential aspirants that have declared their interest to run and we repose sheer confidence in their sense of leadership, charisma, capacity, responsibility, diligence and commitment towards a better Nigeria and Yoruba nation, but everyone of you cannot be president at the same time. Hence, a common ground must be sought and worked upon which will bring to the fore the most capable, reliable and trustworthy Yoruba candidate for the presidency.

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“In keeping the peace and jettisoning electoral violence, all players and critical stakeholders must again work assiduously in ensuring their campaign trains and parties’ supporters keep to the rules of the game (as enshrined in the Electoral Act) and report the activities of any unscrupulous elements that may wish to thwart the process to the law enforcement agencies for appropriate action.

“In summary, YGC fervently believes it is Yoruba time and moment to produce the next president for the country going forward and all efforts to torpedo that dream by enemies of the race by pitching one Yoruba aspirant against the other will be fought with every resource at its disposal,” it submitted. 

The Yoruba socio-cultural organisation revealed it recognises peace as one of the critical ingredients that will guarantee a successful conduct of the 2023 primary and general elections and all hands have to be on desk to keep the peace.

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Naira appreciates against USD at forex market amid Binance clampdown

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Naira has returned to its appreciation against the US dollar in the foreign exchange market amid the restriction of Binance, a cryptocurrency platform.

Data from FMDQ showed that the Naira appreciated N1,609.51 at the close of trading on Wednesday from N1,615.94 on Tuesday.

This represents an N6.43 or 0.4 per cent appreciation compared to the N1,615.94 recorded at the closing of Tuesday’s trading.

Meanwhile, the Naira exchanged for N1,500 per USD on Wednesday at the parallel market from N1,618.489 on Tuesday.

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Naira Rates, the parallel market exchange rate, showed that the Naira appreciated 1,463.098 per USD on Wednesday.

The development triggered a massive selloff at the Binance Market.

Theheute recalls that Naira had continued its appreciation trend on Monday.

However, it depreciated against the USD on Tuesday for the first time since last week.

At the end of Tuesday’s 293rd Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Olayemi Cardoso, reiterated his commitment to strengthen the Naira against USD at the forex market.

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The CBN had announced the resumption of foreign exchange sales directly to eligible Bureau De Change Operators.

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Ghana passes anti-gay law

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The Ghana Parliament, on Wednesday, passed the bill on human sexual rights and family values, commonly referred to as the anti-LGBTQ bill.

The bill, called the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, was introduced by Sam Nartey George, the MP for Ningo-Prampram.

Press reports that the bill was a Private Members Bill led by Sam Nartey George, the MP for Ningo-Prampram.

The bill prohibits LGBTQ activities and makes it illegal to promote, advocate, or fund them, as reported by Citi Newsroom.

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Local media also reports that individuals caught engaging in the activity could face a jail sentence ranging from six months to three years, while those who support or promote the activity may be sentenced to three to five years in prison.

This is coming after years of the bill being in parliament and going through various stages, facing backlash and efforts by opponents to block it or make changes.

In Ghana, homosexuality is currently prohibited by law and can result in a prison sentence of up to three years.

According to the new legislation, the maximum sentence will be extended to five years.

This proposal will also criminalise the distribution of materials that are considered supportive of LGBTQ rights.

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According to Citi Newsroom, Parliament approved the bill one day after Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, the Board Chair of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development, urged President Nana Akufo-Addo to reject it.

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Takyiwaa Manuh, a senior fellow at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development, mentioned to CBS News that Akufo-Addo has not approved any previous privately sponsored bills for legal reasons related to the country’s constitution.

According to Manuh, the speaker of the parliament did not conduct the necessary analysis of the bill.

She believes that if the bill becomes law, it will significantly impact the judiciary, police, and other areas of society.

“I am sad, disappointed and surprised that our commitment and democratic principles in this country appear to be so shallow.

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“This bill represents a real danger to our country, and we are looking to the president to uphold the values of our country and constitution,” she said.

The bill will need the President’s approval to take effect.

It remains uncertain whether President Akufo-Addo will approve the bill.

In 2021, the United Nations expressed concerns about the potential impacts of the proposed law, Human Sexual Rights and Family Values, warning that it could lead to state-sponsored discrimination and violence against sexual minorities.

In May 2023, Uganda implemented strict anti-LGBT legislation, which includes severe penalties such as the death penalty for certain homosexual acts.

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Elumelu in global academic limelight as TEF case study becomes Harvard’s curriculum

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In an unprecedented move, the Harvard Business School, the graduate business school of Harvard University, is set to cast the spotlight on the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), recognizing the Foundation’s extraordinary philanthropic achievement in a ground-breaking case study.

The case study, the first of its kind on any philanthropic organization in Africa, is to be launched on Thursday, February 29, 2024, before a class of graduate students in Boston, Massachusetts, and will explore the Foundation’s unique approaches and transformative initiatives, showcasing how strategic philanthropy offered by TEF is driving positive change and elevating countries and communities.

This move by Harvard underscores the Foundation’s pivotal role in empowering young African entrepreneurs across all 54 African countries and places the Foundation at the forefront of global discussions on transformative and catalytic philanthropy, acknowledging its significant contributions towards fostering entrepreneurship in Africa.

In addition to delving into the foundation’s innovative approaches and the resultant impact it has garnered over the years, the event will also feature an exclusive acknowledgment of the Founder of TEF, Tony Elumelu’s economic philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions the private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the African continent.

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The Tony Elumelu Foundation is the leading philanthropy, empowering a new generation of African entrepreneurs, driving poverty eradication, catalyzing job creation across all 54 African countries, and increasing inclusive economic empowerment.

Since the launch of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme in 2015, the Foundation has trained over 1.5 million young Africans on its digital hub, TEFConnect, and disbursed over USD$100 million in direct funding to 20,000 young African women and men, who have collectively created over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs.

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Tony Elumelu who spoke on the impact of TEF on the African youth said, “TEF is creating economic hope and opportunity for African Entrepreneurs. We know that entrepreneurship is the antidote to poverty, youth unemployment, and insecurity. Through the intervention of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, we are encouraging our young people, giving them hope through the seed capital we provide, capacitating them through the training and mentoring we provide, and setting them up to create businesses that will succeed and create even more jobs. Collectively we are fixing the challenges that we have on the continent.

Continuing, he said, “The Tony Elumelu Foundation was set up to create more successful African business leaders. We want to replicate our own success and create entrepreneurs who will build more prosperity on the continent and for the continent. It’s all about transforming our society and making sure that we leave society better than we met it. It is not about the money that we have in our bank accounts, it is about the legacy that we make and the impact we create. Prosperity for all is what will create the security, harmony, and peace that we need.”

The Harvard Business School session will provide a platform for thought leaders, scholars, and business enthusiasts to engage in a meaningful discussion on the role of philanthropy in shaping sustainable and inclusive economies. As the world grapples with complex challenges, the Tony Elumelu Foundation stands as a beacon of hope, showcasing how strategic philanthropy can be a driving force for positive change.

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